Stepping into the enchanting world of Disney — whether you’re headed to Disney World in Orlando or Disneyland in Anaheim — is a dream come true for people of all ages. The anticipation of meeting beloved Disney characters and indulging in tasty amusement park treats is enough to make anyone’s heart race with excitement.

However, to make the most of your magical journey, it’s crucial to be well-prepared for a full day out. From sunscreen to comfortable footwear, this packing list of what to pack for Disney World or Disneyland will ensure that you have everything you need to ensure that your visit to the happiest place on earth is as seamless and delightful as can be. Read on for everything you should consider including in your bag for your trip to Disney.

Disneyland and Disney World Bag Policy

People walking around the park in Disney World.

The first thing you may be wondering is can you bring a backpack to Disneyland?

According to Disney’s bag policy, bags or backpacks that are smaller than 24 inches long, 15 inches wide, and 18 inches tall are allowed in their theme parks as long as you do not pack any prohibited items including, but not limited to:

  • Weapons or self-defense devices of any kind (knives, firearms, pepper spray, mace, etc.)
  • Objects or toys that are remote-control operated or resemble firearms or weapons
  • Illegal substances, including marijuana
  • Flammable or explosive objects (fireworks, smoke machines, fog machines, etc.)
  • Artificial noise makers (horns, whistles, megaphones, etc.)
  • Skateboards, scooters, skates, or shoes with built-in wheels
  • Selfie sticks or handheld extension poles for cameras, flags, banners, or phones
  • Glass containers
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Drones

It’s also important to note that all bags, strollers, backpacks, and purses are subject to security screening on any Disney property.

What’s the Best Backpack for Disney?

Again, it’s important to check well in advance that your backpack is within the size requirements of 24 inches long x 15 inches wide x 18 inches tall to save yourself the trouble of not being able to bring it in. You can also opt for bringing a hydration pack, such as a Camelbak, into the park as long as it meets the same size requirements. In most cases, here are other important features to consider when choosing a backpack for Disney World or Disneyland:

  • Comfortable and adjustable straps
  • Ventilated back with back support, especially for hot days
  • Outer pockets and compartments to easily access water bottles, sunscreen, cameras, etc.

Disney Park Bag Packing List

A mom and her daughter at Disney World.

Once you’ve chosen the right bag to bring with you, here are all the top theme park essentials that you should definitely include in your bag for Disneyland.

1. Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is essential, especially in the Florida or California heat. Even if you plan to bring a hydration pack with you, carrying a reusable water bottle will be incredibly helpful. The more water supply you have, the better so you can spend more time exploring the park. Plus, water refill stations are completely free and scattered around the park, so you won’t have to spend money on single-use water bottles. A map of all the drinking fountains can be found on Disney’s website, but in most cases, you can find one near any restrooms.

2. Sunscreen

Be sure to protect your skin from sunburn by applying sunscreen regularly throughout the day! Applying it at the beginning of the day is definitely not enough if you’ll be there from morning until night, so it will come in handy to bring some with you. We highly recommend using sunscreen with SPF 30 or more.

3. Hat and Sunglasses

You can never have too much sun protection! We’ve all been in that situation where we forgot our sunglasses on a sunny day and then ended up squinting in all the photos, so be prepared. A foldable hat or cap is good to pack just in case you need it. But in the event that you’re visiting Disney on a cold day — which might be rare in Orlando and Anaheim — you can bring a beanie instead.

4. Snacks

The great thing about Disney theme parks is that you can bring outside food and non-alcoholic beverages into the park for your personal consumption. Small, non-perishable snacks like granola bars, trail mix, or crackers work great to keep energy levels up between meals.

5. Portable Phone Charger

It’s important to consider that if you’re visiting Disney, you’re probably going to spend a full day there, which means you should bring a portable phone charger! Some power banks can even charge your phone without a cord, allowing you to make the most of the space in your bag.

5. Hand Sanitizer

Keep your hands clean in crowded areas with hand sanitizer, especially if you’re visiting Disney with kids who like to touch everything and put their hands in their mouths afterward. You’re also bound to eat at some point, so having hand sanitizer easily accessible is always a good idea.

6. First Aid Kit

You can never be too prepared by bringing a first aid kit. Include band-aids, pain relievers, motion sickness medications, and any other necessary medications for minor emergencies so that a cut or a headache won’t ruin the rest of your Disney experience. Motion sickness medications are useful in the event that you — or anyone you’re traveling with — feel nauseous after a winding ride like Space Mountain or the Mad Tea Party.

7. Resealable Bags

In the event that your clothes get wet on Splash Mountain, resealable bags come in handy for storing them separately from everything else in your Disney park bag, protecting your phone on all water rides, or storing snacks. If you have liquids such as sunscreen, placing them in a resealable bag can also prevent leaks in your backpack!

8. Travel-Size Toiletries

Theme park days can be long and sweaty, so having travel-size toiletries like wet wipes or hand sanitizer at your disposal can help you freshen up quickly without having to visit a restroom. Lotion, deodorant, lip balm, or petroleum jelly can also be useful for a full day out in the sun.

9. Extra Layers or Clothing

Bring a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings and indoor attractions. Having extra clothing is helpful in the event that your clothes get too wet from a water ride — or even from too much sweat on a hot day.

10. Portable Fan

More often than not, Florida and Southern California’s sun can get incredibly hot. Beat the heat with a handheld fan to stay cool in long lines or even while you’re walking from one ride to the next. Some fans come with a mist spray to keep you extra cool.

11. Cooling Towels

Speaking of staying extra cool — packing cooling towels can go a long way as well. If you (or the kids) are overheating, cooling towels offer some relief and help prevent heat stroke. They can be used in many ways, such as around the neck, draped over the shoulders, held against the forehead for targeted cooling or to soothe sunburn.

12. Rain Poncho or Umbrella

Be sure to check the weather before your Disney adventure! But even if the forecast predicts sunshine, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for unexpected rain. Pack a compact rain poncho or umbrella, just in case. There’s a chance you can probably buy rain protection at Disney, but it’s not guaranteed.

13. Camera

While most people take photos on their phones nowadays, it’s nice to bring a camera to capture all the magical moments. If you decide to bring a camera, don’t forget to bring an extra battery as well.

14. Tile Tracker or AirTag

Putting a Tile tracker or AirTag on your bag is essential in the event that your bag suddenly goes missing. You could even put it on a lanyard for kids to wear in case they wander off in the middle of all the madness.

Things to Bring to Disney if You’re Traveling With Kids

Mickey Mouse, Pinocchio, and Dale in Disney World.

Aside from the list of essential items above, here are a few other things that come in handy if you’re visiting Disneyland or Disney World with kids!

1. Autograph Book and Pen

In case you didn’t already know, your kids can ask for autographs from all the Disney characters they meet around the park! This can be an incredibly exciting activity for kids to collect autographs from their favorite Disney characters as a keepsake. Disney autograph books are typically available for purchase at the park, but you can also pack your own. And don’t forget to bring a pen too.

2. Entertainment for Waiting

Pack a small book, bubbles, or playing cards to pass the time during long lines. You might end up waiting between 30 minutes to an hour for some rides, so it’s nice to have something to keep your kids entertained while waiting.

3. Disney Gift Cards

Preload a gift card to make transactions easier and control spending. This is a good way to teach your kids how to budget properly while giving them the freedom to choose what they want to buy — whether that’s mouse ears, a princess dress, or a tasty snack!

4. Glow Sticks

Once the sun sets, glow sticks are a great way to keep track of your kids in the dark, but the kids will also love it because they’re fun and colorful. Allow the kids to create necklaces and bracelets to keep them occupied while waiting for the fireworks show or while you’re in line for a ride.

Where to Stay Near Disneyland in Anaheim, CA

For those headed to Disneyland in California, the best places to look for accommodations are in the cities of Anaheim and Orange, as Disneyland itself is located in Anaheim and Orange is the neighboring city. Check out our top picks for hotels within walking distance of Disneyland below!

Howard Johnson by Wyndham Anaheim

The kid-friendly Howard Johnson Hotel & Water Playground is less than half a mile away from the park! Take advantage of the outdoor pool, the children’s pool with a waterslide, and a hot tub for rest and relaxation. Stay connected with free in-room Wi-Fi and enjoy plenty of extras like tour or ticket assistance, multilingual staff, and an on-site playground for the kids. Guests rave about the spacious rooms and convenient parking. With plenty of comforts and amenities, you can enjoy the best of Disneyland with ultimate convenience.

Fairfield by Marriott Anaheim Resort

For a budget-friendly hotel, Fairfield by Marriott Anaheim Resort is also just half a mile away from Disneyland, with rates as low as $86 per night. This resort is perfect for families, with an outdoor pool, a game room with air hockey and video games, and tables and chairs to enjoy a picnic. With a bonus nightly view of the Disneyland fireworks from your balcony, it’s the perfect place to stay while visiting Anaheim.

Best Western Plus Anaheim Inn

Situated right across the street from the Disneyland drop-off point, Best Western offers all the comforts of home without sacrificing the convenience of being close to the park. Guests can enjoy air-conditioned rooms equipped with TVs, microwaves, and refrigerators. After a long day at Disney, enjoy a swim in the outdoor pool. A free daily hot breakfast buffet and a guest laundry facility are available for added convenience. Not to mention you can kick back and relax on a shared terrace, complete with nightly firework shows from Disneyland minus the crowds!

Where to Stay Near Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL

If you’re visiting Disney World in Florida, on the other hand, there are several places you can find accommodations close to the park. Here are a few lovely hotels near Disney World.

Four Seasons Resort Orlando

Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort is the perfect destination for a magical getaway. Enjoy the beautiful outdoor pools and lazy river, tee up at the 18-hole golf course, or pamper yourself at the spa. Guests can take advantage of the complimentary theme park shuttle and free water park access. With attentive and friendly staff, luxury amenities, and a convenient location, this five-star resort is sure to give you a memorable vacation.

Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas

If you’re looking for places to stay near Disney World, two areas to check include Lake Buena Vista or any hotels along International Drive — also known as I-Drive. Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas checks both of those boxes! From the seven outdoor pools, two poolside bars, tennis courts, fitness center, and a variety of on-site restaurants, you can truly customize your stay to fit your needs.

Home2 Suites by Hilton Orlando at Flamingo Crossings

Conveniently located less than a mile away from Disney World, Home2 Suites by Hilton Orlando is a perfect place for travelers of all ages. Previous guests have raved about it being a great place to stay if you’re traveling with kids! Enjoy a free daily breakfast buffet, plus a selection of unique features like a firepit and an outdoor pool with a waterslide. With free Wi-Fi, dry cleaning services, and a free theme park shuttle, Home2 Suites by Hilton Orlando at Flamingo Crossings is the ideal choice for an unforgettable stay in the heart of Orlando!

Make Your Disneyland Dreams a Reality

Are you ready to turn your Disney dreams into reality? Your magical Disney adventure is just a click away. Don’t miss out on the memories waiting for you at the happiest places on earth.